Posts Tagged ‘spring’

modo spring run-offFor this race report, I’m going to try something new – I’ll start by sharing my personal thoughts on the experience, and then provide a more ‘objective’ summary of the race (jump to it here). Please comment to let me know what you think of this format!

I started the morning by icing my right foot. Something about my run yesterday caused my foot to tweak a bit, and stepping off it felt a bit sore. One of the good things about the Modo 8K (which also has one drawback…please read on) is that it doesn’t start until 10am. As such, I was able to sleep in until 7:30, and still have time to laze around while eating my oatmeal and chilling my woes minor pains.

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Prepped & ready

I managed to swing a free race entry for one of my friends thanks to Elinor at Goodbye Clutter (follow her on Twitter @goodbyeclutter), and it was nice to have some company as we set off toward Stanley Park and arrived well in advance. Ah, spring in Vancouver…

Cherry Blossoms

Fortunately, because the Stanley Park Pavilion is race central, we were able to huddle inside and stay out of the ‘cold’. It wasn’t really cold at all, just a chill in the air when one is standing about, so we waited until the last minutes to check our bags and get ourselves into the corral.

The Canadian Running Series puts on really well-organized races, and the Modo 8K is no exception. Announcements were timely and clear, and everyone was ready to go when the elite runners arrived on scene. Countdown was prompt and the fun began!

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I always find the first kilometre of this race challenging – it loops around the building, and adrenaline-rush speed combined with a sharp turn and fairly steep downhill makes for some risky business. Plus I started out too fast, a tendency of mine in the shorter distance races. Once we reached Lost Lagoon, it’s a flat course around the Seawall, typical of many Vancouver races, and I got myself into a pretty decent rhythm.

BUT! Because the race starts at 10am, tourist and runners and cyclist and dog walkers are out in full force. The Seawall is not closed for this event, so the racers are not the only ones there. And because much of the Seawall is basically a path between a rock cliff and the ocean, there’s really nowhere else to go. Fine, no problem, we can share the space.

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What made me laugh for a few kilometres, though, was buddy running just ahead of me. He tended to veer left, to the ‘sea edge’ of the Seawall, right into oncoming traffic. Rather than simply dodging the pedestrians, however, he kind of groan/wailed at each of them, doing a weird jazz hands sort of thing to express his annoyance. I wish I could write the sound he made…something like, “Eeearrgh…!” but more guttural – you’ll just have to imagine it, or ask me the next time we meet. Personally, while I could understand his frustration, I thought it was a bit of a waste of his energy. I hope he ultimately enjoyed the race.

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I already knew (from last year’s race) that the final kilometre would be a killer. We disembarked the Seawall, and started up the small but killer slope. I really tried to eke out some more speed, but it wasn’t happening. At the final stretch, with the finish line clock in sight visible as a red blur because I’m getting old and can’t see as clearly without my glasses, I did my best imitation of a ‘sprint’. The guy who crossed the line just ahead of me was waving his arms in victory, so I had to pull back slightly to avoid a black eye. Despite the risks to my person, I still made a time I am proud of and a 30-second PB!

As with a lot of these local races, it was awesome to connect with folks from my Forerunners training clinic, and Twitter friends both new and old (including the ones I hadn’t met in person before). We even ran into an old college friend and her family, a wonderful blast from the past!

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And the foot didn’t bother me again!

Final Results:

Chip time: 37:36
Average pace: 4:42 min/km
Place overall: 167/1067
Age category place: 16/66


RACE REPORT:

Overall
A consistently well-run event. This is my fourth year running this race, and I feel like it just keeps getting better. I like the fact that it’s ‘big enough’ to be really professional, but not too big to lose its local charm. Keep it up!

Packet Pickup/Expo
No expo, just pickup at the local Running Room store. And although they discourage it, you can also get bibs the morning of. Suggestion for improvement: option to pick up on Friday night. I understand it comes down to volunteer availability and likely other organization factors, so this is not a major issue.

T-Shirt/Swag
The men’s shirt is baby blue, not my best colour, but I like the simplicity of the design. Very good quality technical shirt from ‘The Authentic T-Shirt Company’. I wish they had an ‘extra-small’ option, however, because the shirts fit a bit large and loose.

Course
As noted above, tight and twisty downhill for the first kilometre, and then flat along the Seawall until 7km. Then it’s a not-too-steep but consistent uphill to the finish line.

Aid Stations
I didn’t use either of them, but there were aid stations with energetic volunteers at 3.5km and 7km.

Post-Race
Fantastic finisher medal – substantial and well-designed, with a very bright and attractive lanyard. Great addition to my bib board!

Food included: water/Gatorade, juice boxes, cookies, bananas, bagels, yogurt, granola. They were also selling breakfast wraps (both turkey & veggie) for $5, with proceeds going to the Take a Hike Foundation. And if you were so inclined, there was beer available.

We stayed around for the awards – they recognized the top 5 female and male winners, while age group winners could claim their medals themselves. It’s nice when they recognize all the winners, but I also appreciate it when they keep it short and sweet. There were also some great door prizes (be there to claim yours!).

Race Management
As mentioned, Canada Running Series does a phenomenal job (they also manage the Scotiabank Half and the Eastside 10K) – and Modo as the title sponsor for the second year did a great job with branding and involvement.

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North of 60Almost immediately after learning that work was sending me to Yellowknife for a few days, I went online to find out the best running routes in town. Because, what a great experience running north of 60!

I have been to Yellowknife once before, but the circumstances were different:

  1. It was July.
  2. The days were about 22 hours long.
  3. It was about 20 degrees.

So when I went for a run, I chose the scenic trail around Frame Lake – nearly getting lost in the process – and also explored Old Town with my coworker, who was willing to run with me.

This time, although it’s April, there is still snow and ice, and the temperatures are below zero. The days are getting longer, to be sure, but not necessarily a lot warmer. The folks at Overlander Sports promptly responded to my email and recommended some routes, and I received some sage wisdom from a local runner via Twitter.

In the end, however, I decided to go with my gut and do ‘The Loop’ – a 10km route encircling the outskirts of town.

The Loop

All day, I was itching to get out and run. I had all of my gear (mostly purchased during my January visit to Barrie, Ontario in minus 22 weather) laid out the night before. As soon as I got to the hotel, I changed my clothes and headed out.

From the Explorer Hotel, the route heads north along the eastern edge of Frame Lake, on Highway 4. So, yes, I was running on the side of a highway. About 2 kilometres in, I turned left onto Highway 3 (to continue on would have led me to the Ingraham Trail, which heads east for 70km into the wilderness…and then ends). This was a mildly terrifying corner because, while Yellowknifers don’t tend to drive very fast, they couldn’t really see me. Here’s a view back along the road:

So scenic!

So scenic!

But just a bit further along I looked out over (frozen) Jackfish Lake, and got this view – and selfie:

North of 60 North of 60

I started feeling smug and hard core for running in these ‘challenging’ conditions. Then I turned south onto Old Airport Road and *BLAM* the wind hit like a wall. Bitter cold, biting wind.

Why, oh why didn’t I bring my neck warmer??

What was I thinking? All of these drivers must think I’m a complete idiot.

Who runs in Yellowknife anyway??

Finally, about 2 kilometres further along, I turned a corner, the wind died down – and there was a sidewalk! No more trudging along the side of the highway for this boy!

There was a questionable moment at a fairly dramatic intersection where I got a bit turned around, but a quick Google Map search got me reoriented. I was also thankful I had brought along the Lindt chocolate left on my hotel pillow – I needed a pick-me-up!

The final 3km of my run took me back through town, where I snapped a pic of the iconic YK Centre temperature:

North of 60

What? Only minus 6??

And finally, at the 10km mark, I was so excited about the Arctic Char fish & chips I was planning to have for dinner, I took one more selfie:

North of 60

While certainly not one of the most scenic routes I’ve ever run, it is officially my most northern run – and another great experience of Yellowknife – running North of 60!